Thursday, 1 March 2018

HERE'S WHAT TO DO (AND WHAT NOT TO DO) WHEN YOUR SKIN IS RED & SENSITIVE

Redness prone skin? No problem


Redness huh? I’m not talking that healthy flush you get after a walk in a winter or even the joyous post work out hot sweat/red mess we all become. Redness is a real skin issue for many women and men alike. It can affect our confidence, but can also be the first factor in a diagnosis of rosacea. Which one are you? I may not be able to answer that, only a visit to a good dermatologist might, but I’d like to share with you my personal story with angered skin & what steps I take to fight it. 



The whys and the whats.


So why is it so important to fight and prevent the redness as soon as it appears? Firstly, an ongoing redness caused by chronic inflammation makes skin age a lot faster! Inflammation destroys the existing resource of collagen but also makes producing new collagen a much slower process. In the end, you’ll be ageing quicker as your cells can’t renew themselves without it! 

Sadly that’s not even all. Those pesky capillaries could be forming much faster with chronic redness episodes. As inflammation persists, the blood vessels become permanently diluted and this can cause anything from hyperpigmentation in darker skin tones or permanent red changes to the skin in fairer complexions! In fact, it’s more difficult to detect redness at first with deep skin tones due to the amount of pigment in the skin. Only when the redness becomes more volatile, you may be able to spot the ‘first’ changes. 

It’s important to learn your skin and act fast. Change your routine, strip down on irritants, try and relax as stress is an important factor and plenty more steps you can take now to prevent and relieve the symptoms. 

There are many irritants in your skincare routine that may cause your skin to become flustered. There are many causes of redness and it may be difficult to pinpoint them at first, but learning about ingredients and the effects they may have on your skin is crucial. It’s not easy and requires time to learn what affects your skin in a bad way, but there are few that are super easy to spot.

Perfume and dyes.


It’s funny how none of the brands has to declare what goes in the famous ‘parfum’ in the ingredients list. I’ve attended a great talk on Adult Acne with masterminds behind brands such as Skin Owl, The Beauty Chef and Allies of Skin and all of them agreed: ditch products with perfume in it. I’m not telling you that your favourite scent may be making you red-faced and I mean that in a literal way, but it could too. So why add on to it if there are plenty skincare brands that don’t include perfumes or even dyes in their products. It’s also not about going fully green. In fact, ‘clean skincare’ was a motto of the evening. A skincare that’s honest and truthful so even if you do react negatively to it, you will have no problems to pinpoint the source of it. I'm nowhere close to clean routine yet and the day may never fully come, but I am now aware of what I put on my face and body and that's a step in a right direction.



Dehydration vs Hyaluronic Acid. 


We've arrived at my ‘favourite’ topic of conversation. The pesky dehydration is a drag and can cause increased sensitivity and subsequently redness. So stay hydrated, eat well, take care of your gut and most importantly say hello to your new best friend - Hyaluronic Acid. Don’t know HA yet? If you’ve been living under a rock and Hyaluronic Acid isn’t the ingredient you are yet familiar with, allow me to explain. HA is a molecule that’s one of the chief components of connective tissue. Think of it like a jelly that surrounds the cells. Around the age of 20 (and you thought you were a youngster ha!) our natural body collagen levels start to decline and fast. Hyaluronic Acid is a humectant (moisture-binding ingredient) that keeps the collagen synthesis up as well as retains a lot more moisture than water. There are many types of HA, of course, so make sure you do your research and don’t fall for just any hyaluronic acid serum as it may have a more topical effect to your skin and won't penetrate it as well as others. The formula to determine how well an ingredient can penetrate the skin is based on molecular weight - the lower the rate, the deeper it can penetrate. 

Rosacea.


Rosacea affects many and is a recognised skin condition. In early stages is quite difficult to diagnose as the flushes are random and caused by everything from a brisk walk outside, hot food/drink, exercise or extreme hot/cold temperatures. Let me stop you right there, IT DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE ROSACEA WHEN YOU’RE RED AND SWEATING AFTER A WORKOUT! With Rosacea the symptoms are fast and overcome you with fury, you may even experience a stinging or burning sensation in the skin too. It’s important to note that symptoms like crimson face, painful skin or small bumps all over it usually worsen with age. It’s critical to see a doctor who can establish if Rosacea is the underlying cause of your redness. She/he will be able to diagnose it and start you with a treatment, some go as far as laser treatment to repair/remove damaged blood vessels. If you’ve been diagnosed with Rosacea your routine will most likely have to change dramatically. Forget scrubs, peels, exfoliation (unless gentle and prescribed by a doctor), avoid anything too drying (alcohol dent high in the ingredients list is one to avoid at all costs or you can try and eliminate it completely) and obviously anything fragranced (see the point above).

Stress.


Stress is, as I'd like to call it, a pillar of all of our lives. You can't go through life without stress. It's a very detrimental factor to your health and your skin's health so learning how to deal with stress in a constructive way is important. I used to be a ball of stress, anxiety-ridden afraid to live kind of person. It took years of self-care, even therapy to get to a good place. The most important thing I've learnt is to avoid negativity. Negative people? You don't need them in your life. To concentrate on positives, you must look for a tribe of like-minded people! What else? Breathing exercises are brilliant. I now have an app on my Apple Watch that reminds me to breathe. Ok, it sounds silly, but I dare you to try it. It taught me to do 7 deep slow breathes a minute, once every hour. My blood pressure is down, my BPM is much healthier although still alleviated thanks to anxiety and I've learnt to take that minute to myself every hour. I even do it in longer meetings. I switch off for those 60 seconds and concentrate on my breathing. Try it, what do you have to lose.

Skin sensitivity and skin allergies.


Skin sensitivity and skin allergies are another important 'benefactors' of the redness you may be experiencing. This is most common probably and should be looked at as a first priority. You may want to do allergy tests which aren't painful but may cost a bit. Otherwise it could take months/years to determine which ingredient you're intolerant or allergic to, but in the end, it will change your life. Whichever way you choose, knowing your skin is a great step to healthier you. I'm quite simple in this aspect. My skin does not like basics like Shea Butter (causes me acne like outbreaks), coconut oil is fine as a makeup remover but I can't use it on my skin too much as it also blocks my pores and dries it out in the long run which wasn't always a case but it surely is now. My skin isn't intolerant of essential oils but these are such huge factor in skin allergies and other adverse skin reactions, so please be careful if your skin's prone to reactions. My skin sensitivity is mainly caused by dehydration thanks to the 'lovely' cocktail of meds I'm on but I've learnt to deal with that through my skincare routine.



The redness routine.


We've finally arrived at a conclusion and that is the sensitive day routine that works for me. My redness-prone skin routine consists of few products of course and not all skincare! Not all will have the perfect ingredient list, but they are ones my skin feels comfortable with.

Cleansing gently makes all the difference for me and Skin Food Black Sugar Perfect Cleansing Cream* is super gentle yet it removes all makeup and grime quickly. The formula is enriched with black sugar and rice wine as well as many nut oils and it's not only gentle but even little exfoliating at the same time. For the ingredients list and it's not perfect I may add you can check my previous post here. 

My skin is prone to under skin bumps and I find that exfoliation is what works best. If I'm in a mood for gentle and my skin feels overly sensitive I reach for Aurelia Refine & Polish Miracle Balm. It's so gentle I can use it even when I have a cold as it's that one thing that rids me of the awful 'hard skin' around the nose when I'm sneezing. Highly recommended that one.

It's a funny thing with Saturday Skin Spotlight Brightening Mask. First of all the material its made of is a bit unusual and not too flexible plus it doesn't fit my face too well. When it first gets to work, I experienced a slight tingling and was alarmed. Not a great start huh? Thankfully a beauty blogger in me (over-motivated by the fact I spend a bit of money on the set) persevered. The weird feeling disappeared after a minute and this is when I've had the worst skin day. We're talking totally inflamed and hot to touch! Yet 20 minutes later, the feeling of heat disappeared, the redness has calmed down by a good 90% and my skin felt soft and brightened. I fell in love with it from first use and already used 3 out of the pack of 5! If you fancy a try, you can also find it sold separately here.

The one oil that does it all for me is Skin Owl Maqui Berry PM Drops*. You simply must try it to believe me but the simple formula has won me and my skin over practically overnight. Not overly oily, if that makes sense it keeps my skin ultra hydrated, glowing yet balanced. I've spoken about it before here, so I won't bore you with details, but if you can spend some extra ££s on something this month (hello payday!) let it be it.

The calming moisturiser is a must on mornings when my skin feels angered and REN Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream can be a true friend then. It combats the chronic discomfort the sensitive and redness-prone skin experiences. It contains all the Omegas responsible for inflammation reduction and is supposed to train your skin to become less sensitive over time. I may take it up on that challenge one of these days, but I'm always wary of such strong statements. What it does and I'd like to think it has something to do with the use of Bisabolol (also known as Levomenol) is that it calms my skin within minutes, provides very much needed hydration which makes it feel soothed. I like ingredients that have some history (such a geek!) and Bisabolol is the main component of essential oil derived from chamomile and has been used in medicine for hundreds of years as an anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory. History lesson anyone? No, ok then ;)

Last but certainly not least is my personal hero. It is not a calming agent, it is not a skincare product, it is, in fact, a green coloured (yes I know dyes!) water-based foundation primer from Make Up For Ever. It is simply the one product I use in the morning if redness is a problem that day. It works it's magic within a minute or two and I just can't be without it on my red days.I love MUFE for making most their products in trial sizes so you can try without the commitment. 



The end. I promise!


If you've survived to the end, then please raise your hand in the comments box below (shameless, I am!). I know this was a lengthy one and I'm a queen of longish posts, but I have done a lot of research lately and spoke to many pros about redness, so my hope is that I managed to relay that information to you and that you may find it useful. My routine is far from perfect and as shown above, I don't shy away from all the 'bad ingredients' but it took me years to crack my skin code. I hope this post may inspire you to try and have a crack at yours too!


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Thank You For Reading,
Love



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9 comments

  1. Thank you for taking the time to highlight this problem. I am a 32-year old woman, who lives in Denmark, and for the last 10-12 years I have battled with rosacea and perioral dermatitis.
    My best advice during a flare, is to leave the skin alone. Cut back on products, and try your hardest not to touch the skin. This also means very little physical contact during cleansing.
    As soon as I get too cleanser happy, my outer skin layer breaks down, and I am left with burning red skin on my cheeks and around nose/mouth. It´s a very frustrating thing to battle. In the summer, the sun is the enemy, and in the winter the cold and snow makes everything burn. Fun times :)
    I have found that oils can be a trigger for rosacea flares, as well as many "natural" products. I cant remember how many times I have litterally run for my life from beauty counters in the mall, with far too eager salesassistants, hellbent on plastering my poor face with whatever product they are pushing that week. And when I start asking questions about the ingredients, they know nothing but what it says on the front of the products. Thanks, but no thanks :)
    Thats why I absolutely love your blog. Those of us with sensitive skin, must find what works for us, and the only way to avoid triggers in skincare and makeup, is to educate ourselves about ingredients.

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    1. Thank you so much for taking the time & your lovely feedback! Natural skincare sometimes angers my skin too, I love oils though. Having said that, it took me a while to find the oils that work for me & reduce inflammation instead of causing it. Rosehip usually is my go to. Thank you so so much for this comment!!! You’ve made my week!!! <3 x

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  2. Wow you certainly know your stuff! I'm struggling with acne at the moment, I'm pretty sure it's down to the pill! I have an appointment with the doctor this month to start to tackle it hopefully. I certainly do have some redness too, I'll be coming back to this post once I sort my acne out haha!

    Corrie | Corrie Arnold

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    1. Hun if only I told you my horror experiences with the pill. It started with bad skin but finished at pretty scary stuff! This is why I love being single and having no need for hormones (which i can’t take anymore). I wouldn’t say I know it, but I like to learn so I read a lot about it. My face has seen and tested it all and you really start to make more cautious choices! Adult acne sucks, try if you can likes of Skin Own and Allies of Skin. If they’re too spendy, try and see if you can find similar ingredients. I stopped having breakouts now since using them xxx

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  3. A great article, well done!
    I second the advice in the first comment: Stepping back and using as little as possible, especially when perioral Dermatitis is an issue as well, is the best advice. Hard though for skincare lovers like us. Other than that I have nothing to add.

    Anne|Linda, Libra, Loca

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  4. Great post. Very useful! Will pass this onto a friend of mine who suffers from redness!

    www.upyourvlog.com

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    1. Thank you so much Natalie! It means a world x

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  5. This is literally the best and most helpful post on Rosacea. Thankyou!

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